10 March 2017

Published March 8, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Friday Fictioneers and Poppy

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PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME

“No, Poppa, don’t fence me-e-e-e i-i-in,” sang Ellen Cohen, her pudgy hands on her swaying hips.

Bess marveled at her seven-year-old daughter who looked at home under the bright lights. “Imagine, Phillip, our little girl at the Hippodrome.”

“Kate Smith couldn’t sing it better.” He grinned. “Today Baltimore, tomorrow Hollywood.”

After the show, anger drilled Bess when a stranger pinched Ellen’s cheek and said, “What a voice. Too bad she’s,” the woman lowered her voice, “on the zoftig side.”

The future Cass Elliot stuck out her tongue.  “Someday I’m going to be the most famous fat girl in the world.”

*

*

*

Ellen Naomi Cohen aka Cass Elliot

September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974

133 comments on “10 March 2017

    • Dear Archon,

      Cass was the last to join the group. Although Wikipedia states that John Phillips had misgivings about her because her voice was too low. In reality, according to other accounts, he was afraid she was too fat. She did have a presence and a voice like soft velvet.
      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Fatima,

      I really glad you liked my story and I’m glad you asked the question. 😀 I knew someone was bound to ask. To be honest, I’m never exactly sure why my muse takes me where she does. I use the photo as an inspiration rather than an illustration. It goes back to “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” And, admittedly, what I saw is a stretch from the bug to the singer. My mind went to the bright lights of the stage and the flashy clothes we wore in the 60’s. Who personified that better than Cass Elliott?

      I hope that helps. 😉

      Thank you for the lovely comments and the question.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 6 people

  • One of my very first girl-crushes, voice-wise. Nobody, with the possible exception of Karen Carpenter, did it better. Lovely story, Rochelle, and love ‘zoftig’. Not quite as much as ‘chutzpah’ though. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dear Sandra,

      Nothing beats the Yiddish language for expressive. 😉 Cass Elliott did have an amazing voice. I loved Karen Carpenter as well. Pity, they were flip sides of the same coin and both were taken too soon. When I think of them I get all shpilkhes (emotional).
      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Keith,

      Cass was a lovely woman…every inch of her. I loved her voice. Happy that you read my explanation to Fatima. I figured I’d be doing plenty of explaining on this one. What can I say? It is what I saw. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Thanks for the great song, Rochelle. Cass had such a sweet voice. She sounds more like Diane Reeves than Kate Smith, though. Ella had problems early on because she didn’t look the part. Singers in those days were supposed to be lookers. Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughn, Doris Day.

    Like

    • Dear J Hardy,

      Despite Wikipedia’s account that John Phillips wasn’t sure about her voice blending with the others, the bottom line was her weight. I’m glad, as all Mamas and Papas fans should be, that he finally saw past it. Glad you enjoyed the song…and my story.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m with everyone! I’m adding zoftig to my Yiddish vocabulary (and you know I’ve a few words already in there 😉 )
    This was a lovely one indeed. Such a voice taken way too soon…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jelli,

      Always happy to share. 😉 As for what the creature is, you’d have to ask Shaktiki. I’m guessing this was taken in New Dehli but I don’t know for sure. I don’t think it’s one I want to run into without some advance warning, though.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Zoftig, zoftig zoftig…enjoyed the visit to the past Rochelle. And I really appreciate the frank insight into the workings of your muse – it’s enlightening and helpful, it shows me the way, sort of frees me and allows me to take that leap – thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great word, zoftig, even if not entirely flattering! And you’re right, what a voice – an extraordinary singer, though died tragically young, poor thing. How wonderful it would have been to have had her recording for another few decades.
    I have fond memories of listening to my dad’s ‘best of mamas and papas cassette in the car. California Dreaming – what a song.
    Thanks for such a lovely story and some great memories, Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      My mother used the word zoftig quite a bit …never as a term of flattery. 😉 The Mamas and Papas are a tough act to follow. I have them on my iPod and listen to them in the car quite often. Timeless.
      Thank you for the read and the lovely comment on my story.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Is it a Yiddish word, Rochelle? My dad used a few Yiddish words he picked up working in the East End of London where there was a strong Jewish community – ‘schmuck’, ‘schmutter’ and ‘tucchus’ were the main ones I remember! Always a pleasure to read your stories 🙂

        Like

        • Dear Lynn,

          I had to look up schmutter…I knew it as schmatteh. 😉 Zoftig is a Yiddish word indeed. Note: You probably know this, but schmuck is a very vulgar word. Be careful how you use it. I’m very pleased you like my stories. Thank you.

          Shalom,

          Rochelle

          Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,
    Hello. I didn’t (but probably should’ve) catch the poppa at the beginning to clue me in, but by the last graf, I obviously knew. Fortunately, the Mamas & the Papas were in my parents’ wheelhouse, though they preferred Motown, so I got introduced to some great harmony/melody early in life. Great, great story. I didn’t know that she was Jewish either, so I’ve learned yet something else. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say, but happy International Women’s Day, Rochelle. Keep on doing what you do!
    Oh, and to Shaktiki: I love your photo!

    Best,
    Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Leigh,

      In all honesty, the Poppa at the beginning for the story has nothing to do with her future involvement in the Mamas and Papas. It was part of the line from the song, “Don’t Fence Me In.” Purely coincidental, but you’re right. It does work. 😉
      Happy International Women’s day to you, too. Thank you for such a lovely comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wasn’t very familiar with the lyrics of Don’t Fence Me in (until seeing the embedded video you included), so I focused on the M&P connection, in my brain anyway. Happy writing and book-signing. If you’re ever in Saint Louie, I’ll definitely make it a point to get over there and meet you and getting autographs and caught up on buying your trilogy. There are several nice indie bookstores there, e.g., Left Bank.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Leigh,

          “Don’t Fence me In” is quite an old song so you’re excused.. 😉

          Y’know…KC isn’t all that far from St. Louis. It might be worth the effort to try and set something up in one of the bookstores. Do you have any personal connections? We should maybe talk.

          Shalom,

          Rochelle

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rochelle, I’m about an hour (northeast) of St. Louis, but, yeah, KC isn’t that far. At least in my pre-kid days we’d drive over there for soccer games and drive back the same night. As to the other question, I don’t know if R or I know anyone at Left Bank. My husband knows the letterpress/printing people more so than I do. But I’ll see what I can find out. Shalom, Leigh

            Like

  • The commentary on body image is perfect for today. One can only wish that she makes it all the way to the top, and then higher… so those ridiculous comments on body image can be nothing but nonsense.

    Like

  • As everyone (or at least a great many) others have said, “Thanks for the memory.” Cass had a gorgeous voice. Not t mention an uber cool name. I hadn’t thought of it until I read all the comments – Cass Elliot flows easily off the tongue.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Betty Crocker,

    My mother had your cookbook. Perhaps Ellen’s mother did too. No wonder we both wound up on the zoftig side. My singing voice isn’t as sweet and smooth as Ellen’s but I can certainly project. Like I tell ’em at church, “What I lack in talent, I make up for in volume.”

    Mama Cass was a great choice for this week, and I like your explanation tying it to the prompt. It was almost plausible. 🙂

    Willard

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Willard,

      You know how I am about clinging to the banister when it comes to being literal with the prompt. It bugs me when writers don’t. 😉

      Of course the Cohens were Jewish. You know the theme for every Jewish holiday, don’t you? “They hated us, they tried to kill us, God delivered us. Let’s eat!”

      Thank you for coming by. Please keep your voice down on the way out.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I used to walk my dog with a guy who wouldn’t believe that someone as skinny as me could be a mezzo soprano, as he described them as more often being like “galleons in full sail”. Well, I told him that skinny people could still have big lungs. That being said, some large ladies do have the most amazing voices that I couldn’t possibly emulate. My singing teacher used to say to me that to project my voice, I must imagine that I had a huge bust when singing. That took some imagination, I can tell you D:

    I’m so glad that Cass Elliot had such good self-belief. A comment like that from a stranger could have destroyed a lesser person.

    This a most inspiring story and just the thing to demonstrate the indomitable spirit of great women. Bravo!

    All best wishes,
    Sarah

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Sarah,

      From all I’ve read, Cass wasn’t one to take ‘no’ for an answer. Not to mention having that velvet voice to back her. I’m afraid she got more than one comment and, like so many girls who didn’t fit the mold, endure taunts and rejections in school. I’ve heard it said that success is the best revenge.
      Thank you for your kind words re my story.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Liz,

      Zoftig is one of those expressive words that explains itself. 😉 Thanks to the modeling profession, beginning with Twiggy all those years ago we’ve a rather stilted view of beauty, don’t we? Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Hi Rochelle, I loved your flash. Good for Cass! Way to go! With her assertiveness and her parents support she’ll go wherever she decides to go.I didn’t realise it was a tribute to a real singer, so it’s doubly meaningful 🙂
    I’m having ‘creative’ fun taking part in Friday Fictioneers and reading other responses to the prompt. Thanks so much for hosting.
    My contribution continues with Alice’s creative bursts much to her parents’ astonishment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sara,

      I knew this was a question I would be asked and so I have. I’m always happy to share. 😉 To save you from scrolling up I’m copying the answer I gave Fatima:

      To be honest, I’m never exactly sure why my muse takes me where she does. I use the photo as an inspiration rather than an illustration. It goes back to “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” And, admittedly, what I saw is a stretch from the bug to the singer. My mind went to the bright lights of the stage and the flashy clothes we wore in the 60’s. Who personified that better than Cass Elliott?

      I hope that helps. 😉 I’m glad you liked my story. Thank you for your kind words.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      Love the song and the story behind it. Thank you for sharing the link. It’s one of those songs that I practically have memorized. Glad you liked the story and took the time to say so. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I will survive! Well done Rochelle. We all have that”fat girl”insecurity don’t we? Mine was I was so tiny as a lad. Looking back it was those that cultivated confidence in me that made me feel like a giant. Peace to you and once again thank you for being a great hostess

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Goroyboy,

      I’m a whopping 5-foot-nothing which has never really bothered me. My older brother, on the other hand, was 5’2″ and it did bother him. But he has a huge IQ and managed a successful career. What a shame that the world looks on the outward appearance.
      I’m glad you enjoyed my story and took the time to leave a nice comment. Reciprocation is one of the most enjoyable things about Friday Fictioneers and is what has made this group a community. Thank you for being a part of it.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally feel the same way, I feel our written contribution or leaving a comment is a ticket to the “fellowship hall”. I’m the guy in the corner with Rose colored glasses, (at least until they start playing ABBA then it’s time to dance) lol Peace

        Like

  • Enjoyed the story and the comments!
    Not really familiar with Cass’s music, except a fellow teacher taught her class to sing California Dreaming from a youtube clip (it really is dreaming in the heart of England!). They just loved it and as eight-year-olds were very accepting of all the different qualities of the members of the group.
    (I’m on the skinny side but thanks to Sarah Potter I now know what bodily attributes to imagine to improve my singing voice!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Miranda,

      I still listen to their music…the music of my youth. It’s nice to know that the next generations enjoy it as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the story and took the time to let me know. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

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